Last year, we lost my 26-year-old brother-in-law to COVID-19. He was my son’s fun uncle. Now, my son is going to have to grow up without him.
When he went to the hospital, they put him on Remdesivir, which did not work. Despite pumping him with oxygen, he gradually grew worse until they had to put him on a ventilator. He begged them not to put him on it because he thought it was the last step before death. Unfortunately, he was right.
Before he died, there was one bright spot in his treatment that we thought might turn him around. When all else appeared to be failing, the doctor was willing to try Ivermectin. We fear that the doctors tried it only because they thought he was not going to make it and they wanted to appease us. But when they tried it, he started turning around. We thought he might come out of it after all.
But he went downhill again for two reasons. First, when different physicians took over, they stopped giving him Ivermectin. Second, while he was on the ventilator, a second round of pneumonia developed, which eventually took his life. We can’t help but wonder whether he would have lived if they had started giving him Ivermectin before putting him on the ventilator.
Now, 16 months after we lost my brother-in-law, Elon Musk revealed that Twitter actively worked with the government to suppress information about COVID-19 that the government did not like.
Perhaps information like, “Ivermectin can save lives.”
On the December 26 release of “The Twitter Files,” David Zweig reported that Twitter rigged the COVID debate by (1) censoring information that was true but inconvenient to U.S. government policy, (2) discrediting doctors and other experts who disagreed, and (3) suppressing ordinary users, including some who shared the CDC’s own data.
Zweig reported that both the Trump and Biden administrations pressured Twitter to do it. The Trump administration pressured Twitter to censor some information (not about COVID treatments but about other things related to COVID), but the Biden administration dumped gas on the censorship fire until it burned the whole forest. It wasn’t just Twitter: Google, Facebook and Microsoft were involved as well.
None of this comes as a surprise to anyone who has even rudimentary critical thinking skills. Nevertheless, it is still shocking that during a global pandemic, where the free flow of information (especially among the medical community) was critical to figuring out how to deal with a novel deadly virus, the government made up its mind what was true and what was misinformation even before the scientific community had arrived at a consensus.
How many people like my brother-in-law are dead because of it?
One might argue, “Matt, you’re not a doctor.” You’re right! But that’s exactly why I want the doctors to be able to evaluate the evidence and speak freely. Anyone who took a high-school science course knows that science is the process of testing hypotheses that challenge the status quo in a disciplined, methodical, and empirical manner. Science that you cannot question is not science.
In perhaps the greatest defense of free speech in the Western world, John Milton wrote in Areopagitca: “Let [truth] and falsehood grapple; who ever knew truth put to the worse, in a free and open encounter?” Milton was right. If one side of the debate is indeed misinformation, then let truth and error fight it out. Let truth prevail and expose true misinformation for what it is. How else can we know what is verifiable truth and what is merely government propaganda?
I wrote two weeks ago that private companies are generally not liable for censoring speech unless they do so at the behest of the government. In this case, it appears that big tech was all too eager to serve as the government’s propaganda agents. Many are dead because of it.
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In the words of George Washington: “For if Men are to be precluded from offering their Sentiments on a matter, which may involve the most serious and alarming consequences, that can invite the consideration of Mankind, reason is of no use to us; the freedom of Speech may be taken away, and, dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep, to the Slaughter.” If we do not hold the wicked confederacy of government and big tech accountable, then their abuses of free speech in the future will be far worse.
Matt Clark is the President of the Alabama Center for Law and Liberty, a conservative nonprofit law firm that fights for limited government, free markets, and strong families in the courts. His column appears every Friday in 1819 News. The opinions expressed in this column are those of the author. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of 1819 News. To comment, please send an email with your name and contact information to Commentary@1819News.com.
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